Nigerian, Pinay cohort jailed for romance scam

CYBERCOPS from the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) on Thursday arrested a 40-year-old Nigerian national and his Filipina partner for their involvement in a so-called ‘romance scam’ in which they milk money from their unsuspecting targets.

PNP-ACG director, Brigadier General Dennis P. Agustin, said Kelechi Christian Ukpabi, a native of Lagos Island, Nigeria and his partner Dolly Ann Uy,26, a resident of Parañaque City were arrested in a sting conducted by members of the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit 4-A while claiming money from their victim inside a remittance center in the city on Thursday morning.

With the assistance of officers from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 4-A and the Bacoor City Police Station, the RACU 4-A operatives under Colonel Julius Suriben  were arrested following a complaint from a Laguna-based female engineer who said she was forced to shell out P120,000 to the suspects.

An investigation showed that the complainant became an Instagram friend of Ukpabi last June 3 before developing an online relationship.

The woman said last month, Ukpabi sent her a message regarding a parcel/package he sent her as a ‘special gift.’

She said she was happy to get the gift from the foreigner but was surprised a few days later when a person who claimed to be a Bureau of Customs official informed her that they have with held the release of a parcel containing U.S.$30,000 and other valuables under her name.

The woman said she was told by the supposed Customs authorities to pay a total of P120,000 as ‘processing fee’ for the release of her package.

The complainant said she discovered she had been duped when no package was sent to her despite repeated demands from the supposed Customs official prompting her to seek the help of the RACU 4-A.

The suspects are now facing charges for swindling/estafa under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, said Agustin as he called on the public to be wary of scams being perpetrated by people in the social media.